TALLAHASSEE (April 21, 2010) — The Florida director of The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate today reacted angrily to the apparent failure of market-freeing insurance reforms in the state legislature.
The pro-market bills — SB 876 and HB 447 — would have eased but not eliminated the strict price controls that Florida currently places on insurance. Whip counts in both the House and the Senate showed the bills had the votes to pass, but chief sponsor Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) today announced he was giving up in the face of Gov. Charlie Crist’s publicly stated opposition to the reforms. Soon after taking office in 2007, Crist pushed through legislation that imposed the nation’s most rigorous price controls on Florida insurance and placed state taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in costs following a storm.
Christian Cámara, director of Heartland’s Florida office, laid blame for the setback squarely on Crist. “Once again, Gov. Charlie Crist has demonstrated that when he is not distracted with his own personal aspirations, he utilizes his official position as governor to prop up those aspirations and even settle political scores. Unfortunately, good, sound policy legislation and the hard-working legislators and staff who dedicate their time, energy, and political capital to produce it often fall victim to this cynical ‘governing’ style,” said Cámara.
“It is a dreadful shame this governor would toy with desperately needed property insurance reform the way he has,” Cámara continued. “Because of his recklessness, property insurance reform is pretty much dead this year, so all Floridians can do at this point is follow the only catastrophe policy Crist has ever offered: Pray for another hurricane-free year.”
Cámara can be reached for further comment at (305) 608-4300 or [email protected].